If there is anything positive to come out of sequestration, maybe it will motivate us to take a good long look at what we spend on our military. Sixty percent of the 2013 discretionary budget proposed by President Barack Obama goes to the military including war, veterans and nuclear weapons programs. Again, that's 60 percent! In terms of dollars, it is $2.2 million every minute of the year.
Presently, the U.S. Navy has 10 super carriers (with two more under construction and another in the planning stages). The air arm on each of these would exceed in capability the air forces of all but a few of the world's nations. There are 18 Ohio Class ballistic missile submarines. Each carries 24 Trident ICBMs, each of which is MIRVed. The missiles from just one of these would effectively destroy any nation.
But at whom is all this might directed? Russia? They long ago dropped out of the weapons race. The Russian people want bread, not bullets. We may question Russian democracy, but Vladimir Putin was elected — twice. China, our biggest trade partner? Get real. Our enemies are a bunch of guerrilla fighters armed with AK47s and rocket propelled grenades — hardly good targets for super carriers or Trident missiles!
I'm not advocating precipitously scrapping all of it, but it's way past time to stand back and take a good hard look at it. If we can build the world's greatest war ships, couldn't we be building the world's greatest merchant ships? Couldn't some of the time, materials, and labor used to build tanks that we don't need be spent building high speed trains, light rail and subway cars?
Jim DempseyCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun